New Orleans-based Democrat political strategist James Carville wrote a piece in London’s Financial Times last month in which he suggested that his political allies running for office this year ought to redouble their efforts to pin the nation’s problems on George W. Bush – as though the American people haven’t heard quite enough from that point of view.
Carville’s piece justifies his call for continued attacks on the ex-president on this basis:
It is under his disastrous tenure in the White House that health insurance premiums nearly doubled for the average American family and the number of uninsured skyrocketed. It was under Mr Bush that the deficit spiralled out of control as we fought an unnecessary and endless $3,000bn war in Iraq and enacted the largest unfunded entitlement programme in history with the Medicare prescription drug benefit. It was Mr Bush’s economic team that worshipped at the Church of Deregulation and was asleep at the wheel as banks and insurance companies became too big to fail.
At the American Thinker today, though, Carville’s charges are answered forcefully. Randall Hoven says of the above paragraph, “of nine claims…James Carville told eight lies and dissembled once.”
Hoven disputes the claim that insurance premiums nearly doubled, referencing statistical data showing that insurance premiums grew by 63 percent over the eight years of Bush 43’s presidency, an average increase of some 6.3 percent which statistically represented a slower increase than his predecessors, and that rather than skyrocketing the percentage of uninsured in the health market has hovered around 15 percent for the past 20 years. He says that Bush’s deficits averaged 2.0 percent of GDP, less than the average of 2.2 percent from 1961-2000 and certainly less than the 9.9 percent in FY2009.
On Iraq, Hoven disputes Carville’s characterization of the war as unnecessary, points out that it certainly isn’t endless since the current president is, in fact, ending it, and shows that Carville’s figure of $3 trillion is a wild fabrication.
And Hoven takes aim at Carville’s characterization of Bush as a laissez-faire economic president, pointing out that the signer of Sarbanes-Oxley is anything but a devotee of deregulation and that Bush attempted – unsuccessfully – to regulate Fannie and Freddie in an effort to reel in the destructive forces which ultimately created the housing crisis. He does give Carville credit for a semi-true statement about Bush having signed the Medicare prescription drug bill, but mentions that the Democrats opposed it not as a fiscally unsound measure but because it didn’t give away enough money.
It’s a fairly devastating deconstruction of Carville’s claims, and it points out that Louisiana’s most famous spin doctor isn’t just over-the-top in his support of LSU.